Awards 2006: Dynshaw Italia – Growing business FD of the year

aa awards 2006

Sponsored by Microsoft Dynamics

Taking the coveted Financial Director of the Year Award for a Growing
Business is Dynshaw Italia of Cobra Beer.

The judges described him as an energetic supporter of his company and
applauded his leadership skills.

‘This is a great man in a great company. Everything he does is about
supporting and growing what has become a terrific brand.

His dedication and ability to lead is obvious,’ said one of the judges.

‘He’s clearly a man on the way up, and a man more than able to support the
kind of entrepreneurial business in which he works,’ said another.

Cobra Beer, an £80m turnover player, is a company and a brand on the move.
The brewer has achieved 25% growth year-on-year for the past three years, and
Cobra Beer is exported to more than 40 countries.

The company’s growth plans depend on successful fundraising and following
through with a strategy for expansion ­ two areas where Italia has played a key
role, particularly over the past 12 months.

In July, Cobra announced that it had raised £27.5m to fund its growth plans,
which included capitalising on its strong position in the UK market and
expanding into India.

The funds were required for marketing and distribution in both countries, but
while the company needed sufficient funds to finance its ambitious growth plans,
it also wanted to raise the money without diluting the future interests of

Italia was instrumental in finding a financial solution ­ in this case an
unsecured loan of £25m, where the interest is rolled up and payable only on

‘Dynshaw has been very innovative in identifying and implementing a
leading-edge “payment in kind” instrument,’ says Anuj Chande, a partner at Grant

‘This fundraising generated much interest from other competitor brewers, and
Dynshaw undertook to communicate to the market what the firm was doing.’

During the past year Italia has spearheaded Cobra’s entry into the Indian
market. He took responsibility for setting up local production and distribution,
establishing finance, production and marketing teams.

The move into India looks set to continue to provide the Cobra FD with
interesting challenges. No other foreign beer has so far succeeded in
establishing itself in India.

The market is stringently regulated and advertising for alcohol is prohibited
in the subcontinent. No doubt Italia will be leading by example and encouraging
his teams to find innovative solutions.


Italia’s remit at Cobra is wider than that of many FDs. He also acts as chief
operating officer, HR and IT director, and he believes that managing the
company’s people is the central challenge in business life. ‘Motivating a
dynamic workforce is what he sees as key to leadership,’

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